Ah, Halloween. That time of year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no one can judge her for it, right?
Except … everyone still does.
Every year, the hot topic (other than who can make the most racist costume ever — looking at you, Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman and Native American headdress costumes) seems to be how sexily a girl can represent Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz.” Short skirts, low-cut tops, fishnet tights — they’re all the rage, and they’re all over Party City and Target.
Of course, with these confections come the usual complaints.
“You look like such a slut! Cover up! Why do girls feel such a need to dress like prostitutes on Halloween?”
I don’t know … maybe because we’re conditioned to think we have to?
Think about it. A lot of times, we don’t know we want or need something until it’s put in front of us. If you put enough “sexy cat” costumes out there, on top of all of the customary images of women we see on a regular basis — in cologne and perfume commercials, in alcohol ads and action movies — then it becomes perfectly normal for a young woman to think that’s what she needs to aspire to with her dress on Halloween (or any other time, for that matter).
Argue it all you want, but despite all of our “progress,” the top priority for a woman in America in 2013 is still that she be conventionally attractive. In this day and age, attractiveness is almost always directly correlated to how nice of a figure you have, and how well you flaunt it. And I find it funny that quite a few of the people — particularly the males in the audience — who complain about how “slutty” girls look still appreciate the view and talk extensively about how hot a girl is, on a scale of 1 to 10. Because nothing says “respect” like replacing a girl’s name with a number.
As my friend JT puts it, “It’s like, “Yo, Miss. Naw. I don’t wanna talk to you. I just want to ogle you. Now that I’ve done that, I’m going to rate you on a scale. Because you are Not. A. Human. The only value your life has is whatever number my highly deflated ego and incompetent mind give you.” Yeah, basically.
It’s true that a lot of women also pick their costumes knowing that they’re going to show off a lot of their assets, and to that I say — fine! Part of the fun of Halloween is doing stuff you don’t normally do in public. We generally don’t walk around with sharpened incisors and paint on our faces during the other 364 days of the year, after all.
So if you’re a girl, and “not being yourself” means squeezing into a form-fitting corset and wearing the shortest shorts imaginable, then go for it with all your heart. And those who feel the need to knock you down for doing that clearly don’t get the point that this isn’t whom you normally are. (But if it is your regular attire, that’s cool, too.)
Women don’t deserve to be dissed for wearing what makes them feel good. Dressing up as a French maid doesn’t mean you deserve to be treated like dirt, and a Hooters girl costume doesn’t mean her brains are in her boobs. That’s slut shaming, and it dehumanizes the person behind the costume big time — opening the floodgates for a whole host of other issues.
On the flip side, not dressing up in revealing costumes doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, either. Find a book or movie character you really like, or be really nerdy (like me) and pull inspiration from history. Either way, do what is fun for you.
Altogether, I think there are much more important things to worry about when it comes to Halloween costumes — like the aforementioned monstrosities that offend very real people and ethnic groups. Otherwise? Everyone can mind their own business.
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